Mikaela Shiffrin sixth in last race of season; eyes speed events in 2018

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin completed her best season yet with a sixth-place finish in the World Cup Finals giant slalom in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday. Then she looked ahead to expanding her Olympic program.

Shiffrin, the World Cup overall champion, ended up 2.14 seconds behind Italian Federica Brignone at the 37th and last race of the season. Shiffrin was in second place after the first run but struggled in the second run, going 15th-fastest.

“I’m not very satisfied,” Shiffrin said on NBCSN. “I didn’t take enough aggression when I really needed it. It’s a bit of a bummer, but it’s good motivation for next year.”

Italy swept the first three places. Brignone was followed by Sofia Goggia and Marta Bassino.

France’s Tessa Worley placed fifth, wrapping up the giant slalom season title by 85 points over Shiffrin. Shiffrin also took second to Worley in the giant slalom at the world championships in February.

Full Results

This season, Shiffrin was once again the world’s best slalom skier, improved to become the second-best giant slalom skier and won her only super combined start.

“I’ve been dreaming about the overall globe,” Shiffrin said. “I just wanted to be the best skier in the world. When you look at the definition of the best skier in the world, the overall globe pops up.”

At 22, she is the youngest World Cup overall champion since Janica Kostelic in 2003, and the fifth American to take home the sport’s biggest annual prize (Phil MahreTamara McKinneyBode MillerLindsey Vonn).

Her 11 World Cup wins are joint-second-most by an American man or woman in one season, trailing only Vonn, who took 12 in the 2011-12 season.

Three medals at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics are possible. One U.S. woman has captured three medals in one Winter Olympics — speed skater Sheila Young in 1976.

The 2017-18 World Cup season will likely start with the traditional opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, in late October.

Shiffrin’s goal next year is to improve in the speed events of super-G and downhill, racing at least one speed event in PyeongChang. She has made five career World Cup super-G starts and two downhills, with a best finish of fourth.

“I still don’t feel like the best skier in the world,” Shiffrin said. “I feel like the best slalom skier, one of the best GS skiers, and I have some work to do in speed. Maybe someday I’ll be the best skier in everything, and then I can really sit back and say, OK, now I’ve done it. But I don’t know if that day will ever come.”

A challenge will be stamina. Shiffrin started 25 of 37 World Cup races this season, skipping the majority of the speed races. Even with that schedule, she noted fatigue in Aspen this weekend.

“You just want to take a nap for three days straight,” Shiffrin said Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. downhiller suffers leg fracture in race crash

Mikaela Shiffrin edged out in World Cup Finals slalom

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin was beaten for the third time in 10 World Cup slaloms this season, edged out by .24 at the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday.

Shiffrin, the Olympic and world slalom champion, took second to Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swede Frida Hansdotter was third.

Vlhova was fastest in both runs, while Shiffrin was third-fastest in both runs.

“I wouldn’t call today a bad day,” Shiffrin said. “I was disappointed with some of my skiing and also happy with some of my skiing. Yeah, second place is never bad.”

Race Results | Run 2 Replay

Shiffrin, who turned 22 years old on Monday and has 11 World Cup wins this season, already had the season overall and slalom titles wrapped up before Saturday’s race.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever process that,” a smiling Shiffrin said of becoming the fifth American man or woman to take the overall title, and the youngest of any nationality since 2003. “It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was 5 years old, and it’s really difficult to understand something that finally happens after 20 years.”

Shiffrin is up to 1,603 points this season, which is the most by a female racer since Tina Maze set the points record with 2,414 in 2013. Shiffrin has competed in 24 of 36 races this season, skipping the majority of the downhill, super-G and super combined races.

Maze, now retired, competed in all 35 races in her historic 2012-13 campaign.

“I remember when Tina Maze had her big, big season, and she said to me at the end, ‘Don’t do every event. It’s so exhausting,'” Shiffrin said. “I was like, but that’s what I want to do. Now, a couple years later, I can understand what she means. I didn’t even ski in every race this year, and I feel the fatigue.”

Earlier Saturday, Austrian Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup Finals giant slalom by .53. Hirscher, who already clinched his record sixth straight World Cup overall title, finished first or second in all eight giant slaloms this season.

The World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with the men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom (broadcast schedule here).

“I’m definitely motivated after today,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t want to leave anything out there.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. downhiller suffers leg fracture in race crash

Mikaela Shiffrin is fifth American to win World Cup overall title

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin is all set to become the World Cup overall champion.

The 22-year-old American will bag the biggest annual prize in ski racing after Slovenian Ilka Stuhec, the only other skier mathematically in the running, reportedly said she will not enter Saturday’s slalom at the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., (broadcast schedule here). It will become official when the start list is out later Friday.

Stuhec had a miniscule chance of overtaking Shiffrin, needing to win both Saturday’s slalom and Sunday’s giant slalom and for Shiffrin to finish outside the top 15 in both races. Stuhec does not typically race slaloms.

Shiffrin became the fifth American to take the overall title, awarded since 1967 to the male and female skiers who accumulate the most points across all races in the World Cup season.

She joins Phil Mahre (1981-83), Tamara McKinney (1983), Bode Miller (2005, 2008) and Lindsey Vonn (2008-10, 2012) in bringing the crystal globe back to the U.S.

Shiffrin is also the youngest male or female overall champion since Croatian Janica Kostelic in 2003.

She clinched with two races left in a 37-race season, but it was wrapped up for all intents and purposes on Feb. 10. On that day, Swiss Lara Gut, the defending World Cup overall champion, tore an ACL in a warm-up at the world championships.

Gut was 180 points behind Shiffrin at the time, significant, but the remaining World Cup schedule favored Gut’s speed events to Shiffrin’s technical events.

With Gut out, Shiffrin cruised to the title by winning three of her next four World Cup races. She’s now at 11 wins this season, most by any man or woman, and could finish with 13 if she bags Saturday’s slalom and Sunday’s giant slalom in Aspen.

Thirteen victories would tie Shiffrin for second all-time in one season by a man or woman. It would also give her 33 career World Cup wins, matching Bode Miller for second all-time among Americans behind Vonn, who has 77.

It has been quite the rise for Shiffrin since she captured gold in Sochi. She became more dominant in slalom, began winning in giant slalom and super combined and is now a podium threat in the scattered super-Gs that she starts.

It all sets up for Shiffrin to go into the Olympic season with the chance to become the first U.S. woman to win three gold medals at a single Winter Olympics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Bode Miller says ‘a lot of pieces’ necessary for possible comeback